A 75-57 win over the San Francisco Dons marked the first sign of mortality shown by ASU Basketball. However, the outcome remained the same.
Arizona State was able to overcome its weakest offensive performance of the season to improve to 7-0 with an 18-point victory over San Francisco. For the first time this year, head coach Bobby Hurley‘s team relied on its defense to win.
“I was really pleased with the energy we defended with, especially in the first half,” Hurley said. “To jump out to the lead we were able to get, I believe it was 21-6…to have them have to chase us the rest of the game, you just feel really good about that.”
The Dons shot 18-of-63 from the floor with 40 of those attempts coming from beyond the arc. ASU played at a frenetic pace that wore down USF, forcing them to shoot and keeping them out of the paint most of the night.
Leading the charge defensively for the Sun Devils was Remy Martin. Known as a sparkplug off the bench, the freshman guard was electric, stepping in front of passing lanes and providing tenacious on-ball defense. Martin finished with 12 points.
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“He picks us up the most the most out of anybody on the team,” said Romello White. “When he gets in there, he talks a lot, on the ball, full-court… I feel like every team that plays us is scared when he gets in the game.”
However, ASU looked equally flat shooting the ball. Especially in the second half.
The Sun Devils were cold from the floor and had an uncharacteristic number of turnovers before adjustments could be made.
On a night where shots weren’t falling for ASU, Hurley and his team improvised to attack the paint, get to the free throw line and create points off turnovers. Despite an increased number of turnovers, the change in gameplan proved effective.
Forward Romello White notched a double-double, scoring 16 points and grabbing 13 rebounds (six on the offensive end) while getting to the line 16 times. Many of those free throws came from the Dons inability to contain him on second chance opportunities.
“If I feel like they’re not really good in the post, not really good at defending, I’ll just tell them look for me cause I’m going to go at them,” White said.
Following the win, ASU will have a few days to prepare for a tough stretch against St. John’s and date with Kansas at Phog Allen Fieldhouse.